The legend goes that in 1998, when Andrew Tarlow opened Diner in a derelict 1920s dining car under the Williamsburg Bridge, its first patrons were the artists, photographers and musicians who squatted in the abandoned Gretsch drum factory opposite. At that point the sprawling waterfront slice of Brooklyn was still synonymous with shipyards, tenements and hardworking migrant communities. It had not yet become a byword for urban cool and few could have predicted that this desolate neighbourhood would become the wellspring of an influential aesthetic and cultural movement that would go on to creatively eclipse Manhattan and be emulated the world over.
Now, to describe something as ‘very Brooklyn’ in hospitality, design and fashion circles is to be immediately understood — often as code for ‘hipster’. The signatures are readily recognisable: on the gentrification curve, populated with young people and jammed with coffee bars, small restaurants and stores with handcrafted this and artisan that. The lighting is Edison, the walls are exposed brick, furniture is reclaimed and the dress code is vintage.
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Photos: Martyn Thompson © Vogue Living, September/October 2014Download PDF